Olfactory inputs are important for hedonic evaluation of food, resulting in food choice and possible consumption. Olfactory acuity is determined by the feeding status, with hunger enhancing smell and food seeking behavior, whereas satiety suppresses olfaction and promotes energy expenditure. Efforts to understand the cellular basis of food intake and energy expenditure revealed the crucial role of the hypothalamus as a master regulator of whole-body energy homeostasis, integrating internal and external stimuli to modulate energy intake and expenditure accordingly. However, how the hypothalamus adjusts circuits regulating energy homeostasis depending on external stimuli, such as smell, remains an intriguing mystery. Our previous work revealed that ablation of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs) stimulates hypothalamic-driven autonomic tone and promotes catabolic pathways, enhancing thermogenesis in adipose tissue. These findings unravel a new function for the olfactory system in controlling energy homeostasis in response to sensory signals. Here, we analyzed neural circuits connecting olfaction and hypothalamus and determined the role of olfactory inputs on energy homeostasis. To identify neural circuits linking olfactory and hypothalamic neurons, we conducted anterograde viral tracing from mitral cell layer in the main olfactory bulb (MOB) in Tbx21-Cre mice and retrograde viral tracing from pro-opiomelanoctin (POMC)- and agouti-related protein (AgRP)-expressing hypothalamic neurons in POMC-Cre and AgRP-IRES-Cre mice using Cre-dependent helper virus and modified rabies virus. Additionally, we used chemical ablation of mature OSNs and chemogenetic silencing of mitral cell layer neurons to determine the effect of olfaction on energy homeostasis. Our data suggest that piriform cortex (PC)-amygdala (Amy)-arcuate nucleus of hypothalamus (ARC) is one of the plausible circuits responsible for transferring signals from MOB to the hypothalamus.
C. Riera: None.
American Diabetes Association/Pathway to Stop Diabetes (1-15-INI-12)